Today’s column is a bit of this and a bit of that – short takes on a variety of topics. In Sweden they would call this a smorgasbord

Before I launch into those stories, take a look at this! Take Amazing 360° Tour of St. Peter’s in Vatican City From Your Chair! Get comfortable, click here and enjoy!


WOMEN READ MORE THAN MEN: (ANSA) – Vatican City, July 17 – As religious publishing houses struggle with the same financial woes hitting the secular world, a bonus to encourage readership could help, says the director of the Vatican Publishing House (Lev). Providing a bonus for priests and nuns could encouraging more purchases of books, said Fr. Giuseppe Costa.

Just as in secular society, religious women read much more then men, he added.  “The records of book sales show an obvious fact: nuns read more than priests,” Costa told L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican daily newspaper. “But the effects of the crisis are being felt in each level and purchases in bookshops have become less frequent for everyone, even among the religious. Hence, the proposal to establish a bonus for reading priests and nuns.” A monthly allowance for priests and nuns to encourage reading and meditation on spiritual texts could be another option, said Costa.

PAPAL STYLES, PAST AND PRESENT: The next edition of National Geographic features Fr. Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office as he talks about the styles of Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. Here, in part, is what that story says: “When Federico Wals, who had spent several years as Bergoglio’s press aide, traveled from Buenos Aires to Rome last year to see the pope, he first paid a visit to Father Federico Lombardi, the longtime Vatican communications official whose job essentially mirrors Wals’ old one, albeit on a much larger scale. ‘So, Father,’ the Argentine asked, “how do you feel about my former boss?” Managing a smile, Lombardi replied, ‘Confused’.

“Lombardi had served as the spokesman for Benedict, formerly known as Joseph Ratzinger, a man of Germanic precision. After meeting with a world leader, the former pope would emerge and rattle off an incisive summation, Lombardi tells me, with palpable wistfulness: ‘It was incredible. Benedict was so clear. He would say, ‘We have spoken about these things, I agree with these points, I would argue against these other points, the objective of our next meeting will be this’—two minutes and I’m totally clear about what the contents were. With Francis—‘This is a wise man; he has had these interesting experiences’.

“Chuckling somewhat helplessly, Lombardi adds, ‘Diplomacy for Francis is not so much about strategy but instead, ‘I have met this person, we now have a personal relation, let us now do good for the people and for the church’.”

GOOD NEWS FOR TRAVELERS: ROME AIRPORT SLOWLY RE-OPENS FOR BUSINESS: (ANSA) – Fiumicino, July 17 – Rome’s Fiumicino airport is set to reopen an area of the airport that has been closed as a result of a fire in May this weekend, airport operator ADR (Aeroporti Di Roma) said on Friday. The boarding area D in Terminal 3 has been closed in alternating phases after the electrical fire in the night of May 6-7 devastated the terminal, which handles international flights. The closure has led to many cancellations and disruption of flights, that capacity at the airport has been reduced to 60 percent. Area D was set to reopen the night between Saturday-Sunday, July 18/19. Fiumicino Mayor Esterino Montino has said the terminal will still need extensive renovation following the blaze, which tore through many luxury boutiques and took more than five hours to bring under control.

WYD 2016, KRAKOW – POLISH SURVIVAL PHRASES: Tons of interesting stuff on the official site for World Youth Day 2016 to help pilgrims prepare for this big event. You have plenty of time – a year – to get ready, including learning a bit of Polish. “Before arriving in a foreign country,” says, “it is best to know a few key phrases to help you get around and for use in emergency situations. To start brushing up on basic Polish, visit There, you can access three FREE lessons in Polish to learn how to say Thank you, You’re Welcome, and Please. Each lesson has a detailed audio tutorial paired with a PDF transcript.”

You also learn that Campus Misericordiae (“Field of Mercy”) is the official name of the vigil site for World Youth Day 2016 where Pope Francis will meet with young people from around the world. On the border of Krakow and Wieliczka, this site will host the Saturday night vigil with the Holy Father and the Sunday morning Mass that together are the climax of World Youth Day. Other events central to World Youth Day – the opening Mass, the welcome ceremony for the Holy Father, and the Way of the Cross – will be held in Błonia Park in central Krakow.

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